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Homemade Detergent – Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

June 29, 2009

My sister makes her own laundry detergent and LOVES it.  I asked her for the recipe for ‘Homemade Laundry Detergent’ and she has shared it with me.  When you make your own laundry soap, it only costs about 3 cents a load!!  She no longer buys cheap, expensive or environmentally safe laundry soap.  Making your own is easy to do, works great, smells fresh and it’s easy on the bank account!  3 cents per load of  laundry is about a tenth of the cost of name brand laundry detergent.  Using Gain, All, Tide or others will run you somewhere between 25 and 30 cents per load – that is a big difference!

Okay, so here is how you make the Homemade Laundry Detergent:

  • bar of soap like Fels Naptha (not natural) or Kirk’s Castile (this one is natural!)
  • box of Washing Soda (laundry detergent aisle – look for a Arm & Hammer box. Enough for six batches)
  • box of Borax (this is not necessary, but it really kicks the cleaning up a notch)
  • five gallon bucket with a lid (if you need to buy one, look in the paint section or at a hardware store)
  • three gallons of tap water
  • big spoon to stir the mixture
  • measuring cup
  • grater – hand held, box or electric (if you have kitchen aid mixer, use the grater attachment)

Step One:

Put four cups of water into a pan on your stove and turn the heat up on high until it’s almost boiling. While you’re waiting, grate the bar of soap and add to the water.

Keep the heat below a boil.

Stir the hot water until the soap is dissolved and you have some highly soapy water.

Step Two:

Put three gallons of hot water into the five gallon bucket .

Mix in the hot soapy water from step one, stir it for a while, then add a cup of the washing soda. Keep stirring it for another minute or two.

Add a half cup of borax if you are using borax. Stir for another couple of minutes.

Let the homemade laundry mixture sit overnight to cool.

Step 3:

The next morning, you’ll have a bucket of gelatinous slime that’s a paler shade of the soap you used.

One measuring cup full of this slime will be roughly what you need to do a load of laundry.

The ingredients are basically the same as laundry detergent.

Out of three gallons, you’ll get about 48 loads of laundry. If you do this six times, you’ll have used six bars of soap ($0.99 each), one box of washing soda ($2.49 at our store), and about half a box of borax ($2.49 at our store, so $1.25) and make 288 loads of laundry. This comes up to a cost of right around three cents a gallon, or a savings of $70.

Happy laundering!

P.s. This is pretty odorless – add some essential oil if you would like it scented!

P.p.s. If you are having a hard time finding all the ingredients, check out this blog post: Homemade Laundry Soap Supplies.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. theCmom permalink
    March 17, 2010 12:07 pm

    for a place to order all the ingredients, go to

  2. mcdonalds coupons permalink
    September 14, 2009 3:54 am

    Thanks much for this great entry.

  3. August 17, 2009 10:08 pm

    Any idea if this stuff would be okay to use in a front loading (high efficiency) washing machine?

    • theCmom permalink
      August 18, 2009 10:21 am

      Yes, you can use the homemade laundry detergent in a HE washing machine. I just called an ACE Hardware store and they carry the washing soda (or they can order it from their supplier if they don’t have any on the shelf). Thanks for commenting!

  4. Anonymous permalink
    June 30, 2009 2:10 pm

    i wonder if adding essential lemon oil would be a natural stain remover…worth a try

  5. June 29, 2009 8:19 pm

    well, I might actually do this, I just bought some washing soda for my son to do a “crystal” experiment, so I figure I have the first ingredient already! Do you need to wear gloves to dip into this? Is it hard on your skin at all?

    • Rachel permalink
      June 30, 2009 11:27 am

      I have made this laundry detergent recipe twice and it works great! Kay-Lynne, what I have read is that when measuring out the soda, that you shouldn’t get any on your skin but after it is added to the liquid is is no longer a concern. Happy laundering!

    • theCmom permalink
      June 30, 2009 2:07 pm

      I agree with Rachel 🙂 We haven’t had any problem with it irritating our skin once the laundry soap is mixed up. The “Castile” soap is excellent to use since it’s natural.


  1. Laundry Detergent – Where To Order Homemade Laundry Soap Supplies « The Contrarian Mom
  2. Homemade Detergent - Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

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